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All Star American 10s top Nationals for first round win
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Bryce McDaniel winds up a pitch in the first inning of the 10-year-old Turlock American All Star victory over the Turlock National All Stars on Thursday. - photo by FRANKIE TOVAR/The Journal

The Turlock American Little League All Stars notched a first-round victory against their National League All Star counterparts Thursday night in the 10-year-old District 73 tournament by a score of 4-1.

“It was a great baseball game. For this age level, for the 10-year-old level, it was a pretty clean game,” American All Star head coach Andy Walker said. “We talked about doing the big things well. We’ve got to throw strikes; we’ve got to make plays; we’ve got to put the ball in play. Both teams really did a good job of that overall.”

Hosting the tournament at Julien Field, the Americans seemed at home early as their offense shone bright with big hits. After scoring in the bottom of the first inning on an Owen McCord tag up from third base, the Americans extended their lead 4-0 before exiting the inning thanks to an RBI single from Vincent Perry and a 2 RBI single from Steven Smith.

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Nolan Walker attempts to tag a Turlock National All Star player out at second base during Thursday’s District 73 All-Star game. - photo by FRANKIE TOVAR/The Journal

The Nationals scored their first and only run in the top of the second as Landon Tilby crossed home plate from third base on a through ball on his team’s last bat of the inning. Although the Nationals’ offense struggled to make things happen for the rest of the game their defense had no such problem.

“Their pitchers did a good job coming in a pounding the strike zone,” Walker said. “They really did a lot of good things making great defensive plays.”

With the win, the Turlock American All-Stars are now slated to face the winner of the Atwater Little League All Stars vs the Mariposa County Little League All Stars at 7 p.m. today. The winner was not decided as of publication time.

“I’m hoping our pitching and defense stays strong,” Walker said. “We need to be able to string some things together, keep the line moving like we like to say, and try to get more kids up to the plate to get more runs across the board.”

While the Americans received a day off before their second game, the Turlock National All Stars played again on Friday as they took on the Los Banos Little League All Stars and emerged victorious. They will now face the loser of the Atwater vs. Mariposa County game at 4:40 p.m. today.

“Hopefully we see Turlock American again in the finals, that would be a good matchup right there. But we’ve got to take one game at a time,” National All Star coach Harpreet Thind said. “A few years ago, we ended up coming back from the losers’ bracket to play these guys. So, it’s happened before.”

All 10-year-old District 73 games will be played at Julien Field.